by Roger Clegg, Hans A. von Spakovsky
The Heritage Foundation
February 11, 2014
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., proclaimed, Americans want to “live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Quite apart from the constitutional and legal prohibitions against it, discrimination is morally repugnant. It is particularly egregious when practiced by the government and used as a racial spoils system. Whatever label such polices are given, be it “goals,” “set-asides,” “priorities,” or “preferences,” these laws are discriminatory and provide or withhold government benefits based on skin color, ethnicity, national origin, or gender. Several states, however, have amended their constitutions through referenda or initiatives to prohibit state and local governments from discriminating in public employment, contracting, and education on the basis of race, ethnicity, or sex. If that process is not available, then state legislatures should act to ban such discrimination.